(English) Towards an Organic Olive Grove
As explained by Manuel Pajarón in his manual, in order to establish true organic cultivation in an olive grove conventional patterns must be left aside. We need to take a fresh look at cultivation, focus on it from a completely new, integrative angle. One which is capable of understanding more than a single isolated tree or a certain insect; rather, it can comprehend the whole living system behind them.
It is the Olive grove perceived in terms of a “cleared wood” which includes olive trees and the insects which feed on them, and those which feed on those which feed on the olive trees; and birds and any other creature that may be passing through, including ourselves; and the soil itself with the millions of living organisms that form it.
Above all, what characterises the Organic Olive Grove is the non-use of synthetic chemical products, which are replaced with natural ones. However, to reduce the complexities of cultivation to this alone would be an over-simplistic approach and would ipso facto cause production to collapse, accustomed as it is to methods of conventional agriculture. There are in fact many steps to be taken in order to improve the fertility of the soil which was destroyed by the use of herbicides. Our aim is to create a patch of woodland where the trees can feed on their own soil (for which purpose the soil needs to be alive).
It is all about generating new systems. In conventional agriculture the emphasis was always placed on yield, while we are talking about more socially sensitive and environmentally friendly systems. We sacrifice yield in order to incorporate a range of ecological services including soil management, nutrient recycling, pollination and water management. All this requires imagination and patience since converting from a conventional to agro-ecological system takes time, generally between three and four years depending on the original situation and the surrounding ecosystem.
The land at Molina de Santa Ana is in transition. For quite some time now no chemical products at all have been applied and we are vitalising the soil by means of different techniques drawn from Biodynamic Agriculture.
Our olive trees are thrilled to bits.